When is the price of a pint of beer not the price of a pint of beer? When 'surge' pricing is in operation.

Call me old-fashioned, but I like to know how much something costs before I buy it. But in recent years the trend for what is known as 'dynamic' or 'surge' pricing (or more colloquially as ripping people off) is creeping into everyday life. Dynamic pricing has long been around for holidays and flights. Anyone with children will know that groaning sensation as to how holiday costs double during the school holidays. And those pesky airlines have long been using the idea of upping the ticket price as their planes begin to fill up.

In the last couple of years, however, this pricing model has started to encroach into more regular purchases. When it comes to concerts, Ticketmaster has begun using the model for some of its more high-profile tours. Last year, there was fury in the US over Bruce Springsteen's tour, with fans finding ticket prices rising up to $5000 for the remaining standing seats. Here, fans of Harry Styles and Lizzo, among others, also received the same 'surge' treatment, if not to the same degree.

Now, it seems, dynamic pricing has set its sights on the humble British pint. This week, the Stonegate Group, owner of 4500 drinking establishments including the chains Yate's and the Slug and Lettuce, announced that it would be increasing prices during peak trading. The group has announced price rises of 20p at such times, to help cover what it describes as 'the increased cost demands on the business with additional staffing or licensing requirements.'

Now, I'm not saying that times aren't hard for landlords. They are. Permanent closing time is being called on 50 pubs a month, leading to some parts of countryside being described in the industry as (gulp) 'pub deserts'. But the answer to getting people back into pubs isn't to start messing about with pricing.

Imagine the scenario. It's your round and you're waiting at the bar to be served. The barperson is slow and as the wait goes on, the bar gets busy. Aha! Says the landlord, rubbing his hands and announcing that all drinks are now going up in price. Then, later on, as the bell for last orders goes, the rush for a final drink is met with another increase.

The counter argument, I guess, is that if pubs lower prices for, say, happy hour, why shouldn't they increase them when the bar is busy? I understand the logic but if dynamic pricing does become a feature of going to the pub, it's going to leave a lot of beer drinkers feeling somewhat bitter.